DARLINGTON’S Lingfield Point has added a member of staff to its team – she’s feathered, she friendly and she’s called Freya - the hawk-eyed pest control officer- who keeps the seagulls at bay – nature’s way.

The hawk is the latest addition to the site’s natural population which already includes bees and allotments.

And once a month people will get the chance to meet and greet Freya and walk round the Lingfield Point site with her and her handler, Colin Hinde, who is also the site's resident bee-keeper.

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Mr Hindle had to undertake specialist falconry training to take care of Freya who has been brought in to use her superfast flying skills to chase away pesky seagulls.

It was decided that rather than use alternative methods, Lingfield Point should stay true to its sustainability and nature-based roots by using a natural approach to scare off the birds.

Mr Hindle said: “Although I do enjoy looking after the bees I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stung but I’m not expecting any trouble out of Freya. She’s very mild-mannered and just uses her natural predatory skills to deter gulls."

Eddie Humphries, estate manager, said: “The use of a hawk is in keeping with Lingfield Point’s ethos of sustainability and thrift.

“It’s a simple answer to a problem that can be very costly to sort out. There is no environmental damage and it is a long-standing solution. 

“We strive to be different and approach things in an unconventional way and this is another example of ‘creative thinking’ being put to practical use.”